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Effective Nov. 1, 2023, clients and families, visitors, vendors and staff are required to wear a mask while moving throughout the hospital, including while in elevators, in spaces where clients receive care or participate in research. A medical grade mask will be available upon entry.


The Relax Recharge Ready Project: An arousal regulation tool designed by and for autistic people


This study aims to better understand and address the challenges many children, teens and adults have with maintaining a calm yet alert state. Our previous research has identified meltdowns, shutdowns, inertia and burnout as common experiences for some people who have a diagnosis of autism. In this study, we are working with kids, teens, parents, clinicians and autistic adults to better understand these experiences and to co-design a self-assessment and self-help tool to support people in managing meltdowns, shutdowns, inertia and burnout.


Melanie Penner MD FRCP(C)

Christie Welch PhD OT Reg. (Ont.)

Who Can Participate

We are looking for kids, teens and adults who have a diagnosis of autism, as well as parents of children who have experienced challenges with staying calm and alert. People must be able to communicate in English (with or without assistive devices) and have access to the internet to participate.

What’s involved

Participants will be involved in 2-4 group or individual interviews, which will be conducted online. These interviews will explore personal experiences of meltdowns, shutdowns, inertia and burnout as well as strategies people use to manage these. Some participants will be asked to review a mock-up of a self-help tool.


December 2020.

Interested in participating

If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact Christie Welch at 416-425-6220 ext. 3018

Funding Agency

This study is funded by the Centre for Leadership at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.